WEBSTER CITY - Iowa Falls-Alden is home to the leading scorer in Class 3A in Casey Schlatter, and yet tonight's Class 3A District 4 semifinal between the Cadets and North Central Conference rival Webster City has very little to do with him or his team.
This is all about the Lynx offense.
Can they score? Can they avoid a lengthy drought?
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
WCHS senior Austin Myers (left) attempts to block the shot of Iowa Falls-Alden’s Casey Schlatter during a game on Nov. 30 in Iowa Falls. The two teams will meet in a Class 3A district semifinal tonight.
If the answers are no and no, then the season will be over quickly.
"We've got to score points, I think that's the big thing," WCHS head coach Marty McKinney said on the eve of his team's third meeting with Iowa Falls-Alden this season, which will tip from the Cadets' gym at 7 p.m. "They're very patient and you're forced to play their game when they get a lead on you."
WCHS (10-11) averaged just 39 points per game in two losses to the conference champion Cadets (18-3) - 61-41 in Iowa Falls on No. 30 and 51-37 in Webster City on Feb. 5. In its other 19 games, WCHS put up 55 points per night.
Those 16 points will mean the difference between a win and loss tonight, and McKinney says it's up to his players to rise to the occasion.
"They're a good defensive team, but we've got to have guys step up," he said. "We're the underdog this time, so at this point there's no pressure on us. We just want to throw everything out the window and go give them heck. There's nothing to lose here because nobody is really expecting much, but we're going over there expecting to compete with a chance to win."
In the two losses it was one quarter that turned the Lynx into bystanders. They were within shouting distance in the first meeting until the Cadets went on a 12-4 third quarter run. Earlier this month IF-A ripped off a 14-4 second quarter spurt; the two teams played to a four-point game the rest of the way.
It will be up to the Lynx Big 3 - guards Mason Myers and Nick Olmstead, and center Boone Myers - to provide the bulk of the offense the way they have all season. Mason Myers, a sophomore, leads the team in scoring at 12.9 points per game and connects on 42 percent of his 3-point shots. Boone Myers, a 6-foot-5 senior center, averages 10.9 points and 5.9 rebounds an outing, and Olmstead checks in at 10.1 points a contest.
"We definitely have to have Mason hit some shots when they're in a zone, we need Nick to keep attacking, and we've got to get Boone Myers some more touches because in the last four or five games he's really shot the ball well," McKinney said. "But then we also need other guys to step up; we need Ben Mossman to score six or eight points with some assists."
Schlatter, a 6-8 junior swingman, has torched WCHS in both meetings this season, although he's done that to pretty much everyone on the Cadets' schedule. He averages 25.5 points while shooting 51 percent from the floor and 35 percent from behind the arc.
Schlatter went off for 24 and 28 in the previous battles.
"We know he's going to get his points, so we can't get frustrated there," McKinney said. "But it's kind of like you pick your poison. In the first game we focused a lot on him and other guys hurt us, but then in the second game we put Austin (Myers) on him and he just posted up a lot."
Kort Redmond (8.9 ppg), Brayden McDaniel (8.8) and Parker Reynolds (6.3) could be key figures for the Cadets.
Tonight's winner will advance to the district final in Cedar Falls on Thursday to face the winner of the other semifinal between Waverly-Shell Rock (17-4) and Charles City (9-12); they split two regular season meetings.
The Go-Hawks beat IF-A (70-50) and WCHS (63-41) during a seven-day span in early January.